... because predators are critical to a healthy, balanced ecosystem.
In early 2017, wolves were returned to state management in Wyoming, meaning that in the vast majority of the state, they can be shot on sight. They can be killed for trophies, for amusement, or for no reason at all.
Not only is this policy ethically unsound, it’s biologically detrimental to the big-picture ecology of Wyoming. Science has shown that killing predators is counterproductive when it comes to protecting livestock; disrupting existing pack structures can actually lead to more conflicts and increased pack numbers.
Why are wolves important?
Ecosystems are complex
and delicately balanced, with each species intricately connected to many others. Wolves are a prime example.
With Chronic Wasting Disease
on Yellowstone’s doorstep, predators are a key piece of mitigating the disease’s impact on local elk herds. A robust wolf population can remove sick animals quickly, giving them significantly less time to spread disease among herds. 90% of GYE wolves’ diet is elk, which means their capacity to help manage for healthy elk herds is significant.
Additionally, wolves are beautiful animals
and visitors are highly interested in seeing them in the wild. Their recovery in the Yellowstone ecosystem is a compelling story, and tourists spend significant amounts of money in hopes of viewing wild wolves.
Wolves are extremely social animals, and live in packs that average around ten animals.
Typically, litters have about five pups, each weighing only a pound at birth. By six months, pups are hunting alongside adult members of the pack.
Outside the boundaries of the national parks, humans are the leading cause of mortality for wolves.